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April 16, 2011


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Good idea on online formative assessment.

At TestBag.com we have been working on formative from last four years. The idea was to pool knowledge in form of questions, stratify and classify the same and made in available for Self assessment in Self Assessor where each student can create own tests on a subject/topic/subtopic or key concept /keyword and use Assessment For Learning (Formative Assessment) at own pace without fear of comparison or grading thus self constructing knowledge with own creativity without being limited to extent of instructor's knowledge and also taking advantages of instructor's knowledge in instructor led / subject matter expert tests in Topic Simulator or experience a complete exam in simulated environment in Test Simulator.
There is facility for free registration

Dave Gale

Hi I found this link through Twitter via this post
[Zoe Ross
by psbenson
Another great post from @jamesmitchie - Google Spreadsheets for formative assessment http://goo.gl/pLUD5]

And I'm very glad I took a look.
I'm just beginning with Google Docs and think that what you (humbly) say you stumbled across is a genius idea. I can see even the most technophobe teachers being really impressed with watching the students update their own assessment in front of your eyes in real time.

Now throw in that you can say 'Hey John, I see you've not done xxx yet. Sarah, I can see that you've done that well, could you go and help John please'. Is just awesome.

Quick Q for you: "Have you used google docs like this with a larger class?" One of my first attempts found that having 32 students try to update the same doc was a bit of an issue. Although I can see that using the spreadsheet would be better, have you any advice for using the docs?


Terry Freedman

I think in theory this is an interesting idea, but in your commentary on the video you appear to be saying that the main benefit of this is that you can keep abreast of what the pupils are doing, and give them feedback, without leaving your desk. I can see the benefit of that to the teacher, but how does it help pupils? For me, when I was teaching, it was the conversations in the classroom which were absolutely essential to finding out not only what the pupils were doing, but why.


I think I didn't explain this well and I agree that's how it sounded. It's not the "not having to move" that's the most important...what's important is that I have access to the sense of how the whole class is doing not just the single student viewpoint. I get that quite often when I do exactly what you mentioned...walking around and talking to individual kids.

How does this help pupils? It helps them because I can leverage myself in many ways...I am not the sole source of help. I think it's sort of putting myself on a pedestal if I think I'm the only one in the room that can do _________. With the whole class perspective, I'm more like a conductor with an orchestra....if I see a need for help over in one area, I can call on a student that already knows how to do that. The students can develop their expertise and begin to see themselves as experts.

I don't think a conductor loses anything by being in front of their ensemble. In fact the group wouldn't sound as good without their help in making them play as a group. If I don't work with students as long as they also work with smaller groups and individuals, I would miss out on the experiences you mentioned, but I was missing this bigger experience before and only getting that microscopic view.

It helps the pupils because it lets them see themselves as a group of people with a set of skills that can be share. If I am the only dispenser of skills, then they are limited by my ability to get around and teach everyone. This way helps me become more than a single source of help and expertise.


Dear Dave,
I used this experiment with a class of 24 and a class of 31. I didn't have an issues with the bigger class.

What problems did you encounter? Maybe I was just lucky!!! and didn't know any better.

My little screencast doesn't show me using it in all the ways that I did. It just occurred me to do the video at the beginning and then I got too busy to do another one. But I think you're exactly right with the dialog you suggest. It's how I was able to interact and help kids help each other.

I'm going to go take a look at the link you suggested. I thank you for including that. I'm excited to find other people who want to compare notes on this technique because I think it might hold great possibilities. Thanks and please come back soon. Let's stay in touch!


Thanks for your idea. I've not been to the website and will try to stop by and see what's it all about. Thanks.


Used a variation of this with our adult learners working on their ICT Key Skills projects today. Great for getting an overview as you say, and hopefully will encourage them to keep a regular check on their progress -- maybe seeing where everyone else is will also act as motivation!

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